Swing and A Miss: Chapter 2
If you read the introduction, you are about to find out how the story ended. For those of you who thought the introduction could be skipped, go back and read it. How did that situation play out? I resigned. This was not the ending I planned or intended, by any means. But it was the right choice at the right time. Sadly, I never received the answers or explanations I would have liked.
Truth be told, it did not end well. But I am at peace with how I handled everything that happened over the course of my time there. Here is what I realized: silence is sometimes the exact right choice. Regardless of what was being said, I smiled, but said nothing. I wanted to defend myself and voice every complaint and frustration coursing through my mind. Yet, voicing those things would not have changed the situation, or would have made it worse. I walked away with my own integrity in check, with no regrets.
How do I know silence was the right course of action? In the days since, I have not rehashed every conversation or comment. No doubts have flooded my mind. I look back, knowing I did not always do all things as well as I could have, but I handled everything the best I could. I believe I was there for a season, and for a specific purpose. Yes, I would have liked things to end better, and happier. In fact, I saw the whole situation playing out much differently. Nothing went according to how I had been told it would, or how I hoped it would. And as disappointing as that is, I walked away knowing I did my best to maintain a high level of integrity, and I respected and honored those involved.
Our society seems to have forgotten silence is golden. We live in a very noisy world where people think voicing every opinion they have is justified. Throwing caution to the wind, individuals often blast anyone who opposes them. We are left in a world of chaos and wounded hearts, and no one is taking responsibility. The moment we are disappointed, we lash out and blast anyone who may have hurt us. We use our words to slash like swords, and then wonder why everyone is angry and bloodied. The cruelty of our words is causing a hemorrhage of hearts, leaving devastation in their wake.
Holding our tongue can be hard, so insanely hard, when we feel we have been wronged. Scripture says the wise man restrains his lips, and even a fool appears wise when silent. Who knew appearing wise was so easy? All we have to do is stay silent.
I believe we need to start with asking ourselves why we feel the need to justify or defend ourselves. We must be honest with ourselves in admitting where we did not make the best choices. We must take responsibility for the choices we have made. How have we handled conflict? Have we respected the authority placed before us? Have we shown honor to those in leadership? If we have done all those things, we do not need to defend ourselves. Our actions have defended us.
Secondly, we need to consider the ramifications of our actions. If we walk in with guns blazing and tongues flailing, what good will it do? I have yet to encounter a situation where that course of actions ends well. Instead of answers, we will create more problems. What good is offending others? There is not value in not taming our tongues. If we want to be a people who make a difference, if we want to be a light in the darkness, we start with controlling our mouths.
Truth time. Are you ready? I have failed at taming my tongue far more often than I have succeeded. This has been a lifelong struggle. As a child I was in trouble, more often than not, for talking back. Oh man, I opened my mouth when wisdom would have had my lips sealed shut. Over time, I realized I chose to let my words fly because I was trying to justify my own poor choices. Ouch. Even now that realization hurts. While I knew I had messed up, I was too proud to admit it. No, instead of apologizing, I tried to talk my way out of things, and became angry when I was busted for my own poor behavior. I was an expert in making a bad situation worse because I could not keep quiet.
We may need a disclaimer here. There are times silence is not the answer. There are situations we must speak up, and those involved must be held accountable. We must keep ourselves and others safe. But I believe we can speak up and present the situation without an onslaught of damaging words. If someone were to harm my child, it would be difficult for me to not attack with fists and words. Everything within me would want to come out swinging, and much of me would probably want to destroy the offender in every way possible. But to protect my child, I would have to choose better.
Even now, I will not bad mouth anyone involved in my own situation. Do I like how everything was handled? No, absolutely not. But my feelings do not justify me speaking ill of anyone. I stay silent, not out of weakness, but out of strength. I use my voice in prayers, for them, for the situation, for what lies ahead, and for myself. Any frustrations I feel are better left expressed in my prayer journal than on social media. My silence allows me to appear wiser than I am.
Choosing silence will allow us to keep our own reputations intact. Silence keeps bad situations from becoming worse. Tempers cannot flare when we don’t fan them with destructive words. When we are able to take responsibility for our own selves, there will be no reason to defend ourselves at every twist and turn. How do we handle life’s disappointments? Let us start with silence, except in our prayers.